Legendary actor Dolph Lundgren – best known for his role as Ivan Drago in the Rocky franchise – has revealed in a new interview that he has secretly been battling cancer for eight years.
Speaking to In Depth with Graham Bensinger, the Swedish actor shared that he first brush with cancer came in 2015, when a cancerous tumour was discovered in his kidney. The tumour was removed and scans came back clean for the next five years until more tumours were discovered in 2020.
In a clip shared with Graham Bensinger taken the day after Ludgren’s 2020 surgery, he revealed that six tumours were removed during his operation. “If it dies, it dies,” Lundgren said chipperly, referencing Ivan Drago’s iconic “If he dies, he dies” line from Rocky IV.
The following year, Lundgren was told that a tumour had been discovered in his liver, though this one was too big to remove and that doctors said he had “two or three years” left. He was also told he had more tumours in his lungs, stomach, spine and kidneys.
“I thought that was it. You kind of look at your life and go ‘Oh, I’ve had a great life’. Yeah, I’ve had a freaking great life, I’ve lived like five lifetimes in one. It wasn’t like I was bitter about it, but you feel sorry for my kids and my fiancé and the people around you,” he said.
After seeking a second opinion, Lundgren was able to undergo additional treatment that resulted in the tumours shrinking by 20 to 30 per cent “within three months”. The tumour in his liver has since reduced by 90 per cent, and that Lundgren and his medical team are working to remove the remaining scar tissue.
Lundgren has since confirmed that though he isn’t in remission, he is being kept on medication for “as long as possible” to keep the tumours at bay.
Elsewhere in the interview, Lundgren also admitted to abusing steroids “on and off” between the ’80s and ’90s, something that he thinks might have played a part in his cancer battle.
Dolph Lundgren is next set to appear in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which is due for release in December.